Dramaquill's All Things Writing

May 20, 2008

Waiting…waiting…waiting…

Why do you write?

I write because I have to.  I can’t stop the ideas from creeping into my mind and begging to be released onto paper. 

I write because I enjoy watching the effect my writing has on every reader.

I write because it’s part of my job – my favorite part!  (I write original playscripts for our drama department)

I write because, like most writers, I do want to be published. (Currently finishing my final revision on my adult suspense novel and working on a YA novel)

And luckily, I have had some success in the publishing world.  One of my essays was featured in a book published by Penguin Putnam called “Dear Mom:  I’ve always wanted You to Know
http://www.lettersfromtheheart.com/store.htm

I’ve had some articles published online:
http://www.musicalmakers.org/mmanswers.html
http://www.absolutewrite.com/screenwriting/business_of_playwriting.htm
and in the ezine for Filbert Publishing.

Several of my children’s poems have appeared in both Online magazines as well as national children’s magazines:
http://www.weeonesmag.com/  (Sept. 2004 issue emag)
http://www.writing-world.com/foster/foster04.shtml  (April 2006 issue of Dragonfly Spirit emag)
http://www.myfriendmagazine.com/  (May 2005 magazine)
and two upcoming acceptances for 2009 in Hopscotch for Girls magazine (What’s a Marsupial? and The Language of Tap)
http://www.funforkidzmagazines.com/frameset2.html?target=hs

Subbing out your work, waiting for a rejection or acceptance, and waiting for the final product to hit the shelves can span from several weeks to several years.  I sometimes feel like being a writer is like being in the longest line at some government office – the line that seems to never move as the clock ticks away the moments of your life.

But there are things I can do while I play this neverending waiting game:

1.     Let go of whatever I’ve subbed out and get busy on the next project.
2.     Keep the file of rejections that proves I’m a working writer.
3.     Keep a two-year calendar and highlight all the dates of my acceptances so I
        can look forward to those days.
4.     Keep reading works in your chosen genres.
5.     Stay on top of new trends in the publishing world.
6.     Blog about how annoying wa

And hey, get up from the computer once in a while and remember that even though you’re working hard at being a writer, there’s still a whole wonderful world out there to enjoy.

 So – what are you waiting for?

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December 30, 2007

Subbing out your writing

Congratulations – you have completed several manuscripts.  These could include a couple of NF articles, a childrens’ PB, a couple of kids’ poems and your first novel.

So your first thought is to send them out to all the publishers you can think of, right?

Not a good idea.

Many new writers make this same mistake, resulting in unnecessary rejections.  (That isn’t to say that polished pieces by seasoned writers always get accepted.  They don’t.)

If these are first drafts, don’t even think of sending them out yet.  No matter how brilliant you believe them to be, they aren’t ready for the keen eyes of an editor.

So what do you do?

Here’s my list of the steps you should take before subbing.  It still isn’t easy to get published and I consider myself fortunate to have cracked the magazine market with several paid pieces as well as the anthology market.  I’m still working on PBs and my adult novel.  But I’m convinced that by following the list below, I increase my chances for acceptance sometime in the near future.

1.    Put the piece away after you finish it.  Leave it for at least a week.
       A month is even better.  Look at it with fresh eyes.  Did you find
       anything you wanted to change?

2.    Run what you believe to be the revised copy of your piece through
       a critique group.  It doesn’t matter whether the group is one you
       meet with in person or an online group.  If it’s a good group, that’s
       all that matters.

3.    Consider the comments made by your critique group and decide
       which comments you want to use and which you don’t.  Revise
       accordingly.

4.    Research publishers thoroughly.  Read guidelines and follow them
       to the letter.  If they only accept stories of 800 words or less, don’t
       send even the most brilliant 1000 word story.  If they say email
       subs only, don’t snail mail. 

5.   Create your most professional sub.  Learn how to write a cover
       letter, how to format your piece and whenever possible, sub to a
       person’s name as listed in the guidelines.  Send an SASE only if
       the company uses them. 

6.    Now let it go!

Get busy writing your next piece while you wait.  Most publishers, editors and agents give an approximate time line for responses and most are 6 weeks or more. 

Be patient and expect to get rejected.  Most of the famous writers will tell you their horror stories of rejection before they made their first sale.  It comes with the territory.

Just remember:  If you want to be a professional writer, act like a professional.

November 9, 2007

Nanowrimo continues

Okay so I finally got inspired and decided to stick with the first novel I started.  I’m at 6,773 words and finally getting into this second “woman in peril” type suspense novel. 

 But do I care if I make the 50,000 words in a month? 

Well…maybe just a little. It would be nice to be able to say I did accomplish that but Nanowrimo has fueled my writing and made me more productive and that was my main goal when I signed up.

Now if only someone could start a Subawrimo to get me back to sending out those children’s PBs completed. 

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